Friday, May 20, 2016

“Pro-Due Process ≠ Pro-Rape.”

"Sexual Assault Rally Prompts Counter-Protest: Organizers Demand Stricter Policies, Opponents Say Not School’s Place"


About a dozen University of California, Santa Barbara students gathered on the lawn between the Arbor and library on Monday to call for hastened fulfillment of all 13 demands issued to the university administration last year after a 13-hour sit-in in Chancellor Henry Yang’s office. The peaceful demonstration also drew a few counter-protesters with objections to the university’s jurisdiction over sexual assault cases in the first place.

Off-Campus Sen. Alejandra Melgoza and UCSB alumna Lexi Weyrick organized the protest to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the sit-in and remind administrators of their commitment to reforming university policies on sexual assault. A written update by Now UC SB — the movement initiated by Melgoza, Weyrick and alumna Melissa Vasquez prior to the sit-in last year — alleges that administrators have so far “completely ignored” demands calling for immediate suspension of students found responsible for assault by the university court, as well as their immediate removal from housing.

In an interview with The Bottom Line, Melgoza pointed to a persistent lack of resources and diversity within the UCSB Campus Advocacy, Resources and Education (CARE) office and broader administration — another shortcoming the Now UC SB demands sought to address. “I think every single administrator that I’ve met regarding sexual assault has been white,” she said.

The Now UC SB update is an annotated version of a document issued May 11 by the group of administrators tasked with handling the demands. Though the task force has so far held eight public meetings, Melgoza and Weyrick argue that poor advertising has resulted in “limited student involvement and input” on policy adjustments and hiring decisions made over the past year.

The original task force update reports three new hires in the Office of Judicial Affairs and CARE, along with an unspecified number of new female appointments within the UC Police Department. New faculty and staff training programs are highlighted, as well as student resources like a survivor fund and a feedback program for complainants and respondents who undergo judicial proceedings.

One of the most substantive strides for the movement could be a decision from further overhead, though Melgoza and Weyrick are skeptical of the specifics. In January, UC President Janet Napolitano implemented a system-wide policy with a two-year minimum suspension for students found responsible for violating sexual assault policy — “in most cases.” Inquiries by the activists into UCSB’s evidentiary criteria for those cases have reportedly gone unanswered by the administration.

Yang passed through the Arbor about an hour into Monday’s demonstration — which lasted from just after 10 a.m. until around 2 p.m. — and was stopped by Melgoza and Weyrick to hear their complaints. The chancellor “acknowledged that he has not fulfilled the promises of the demands yet,” according to Weyrick, and proceeded to warn the Division of Student Affairs of potential counter-protests in the interest of maintaining civility.

Shortly after Yang’s appearance, three members of UCSB’s Young Americans for Liberty crossed the walkway from where they’d been sitting near the Arbor store to occupy an adjacent portion of the library lawn. Fifth-year history major Andrew Cavarno and fourth-year political science major Jason Garshfield held printed signs disputing the right of universities to adjudicate sexual assault cases, Garshfield’s reading: “Pro-Due Process ≠ Pro-Rape.”

YAL President Dominick DiCesare, a second-year computer science major, told The Bottom Line that the group takes issue with the preponderance of evidence standard used in university courts to determine academic sanctions. The standard requires that 51 percent of the evidence presented to a judicial body favor a complainant’s claim before a ruling is made against the respondent, according to the Legal Information Institute.

DiCesare argued that UCSB’s judicial process undermines the due process owed a defendant in criminal court, where guilt must be proven without a reasonable doubt before conviction.

“Essentially, when we say preponderance of evidence is enough, we’re equivalating rape cases with a common civil case,” DiCesare said. “If anything, we’re diminishing the level of that crime by saying that we don’t require the same amount of evidence.”

DiCesare and Cavarno also disputed the commonly cited statistic that one in five women are sexually assaulted during their college years. The figure dates back to a widely-discussed 2007 study by the National Institute of Justice that has held up in more recent surveys by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation, as well as the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

But Cavarno pointed out that within the same 1,000-student sample polled by the Post and Kaiser, only 38 percent of subjects believed the one-in-five statistic to be true. He and DiCesare emphasized that the disparities in these numbers and lack of consensus among researchers should warrant discussion of both sides.

“All of us agree that rape is an extremely prevalent issue, but it is not by any means an epidemic,” DiCesare said.

Efforts by Melgoza, Vasquez and Weyrick recently won the support of California State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, who wrote in a letter to Yang that she hopes to collaborate “to ensure that UCSB is as responsive as possible to the unique needs of students” and believes “their experiences should reflect our action and progress.”

Around noon, the Now UC SB supporters formed a line facing the Arbor walkway, displaying handwritten signs with messages including “We Support Survivors” and — among the more specific — “Since demands have not been met, we will not be silent yet.” Generally vocal in her activism, Melgoza chose to keep things on the quieter side due to the change in campus climate she said she’s seen over the past year as a senator.

“Last year it was easier, I think, to speak out,” she said. “And now with a lot of the hostility, the harassment, the stalking, the online attacks, I feel that it is a lot harder for students to speak out on what their true beliefs are — which is a very interesting paradox, just because a lot of students are encouraging free speech.”

Neither group of demonstrators ventured to interact with the other, though several administrators gathered on the sidelines to ensure things remained civil. Among them was Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn, who arrived early in the afternoon to ensure that the groups maintained a respectful distance from each other.

“I want to make sure that everybody has a chance to have their demonstration without infringing on anybody else’s right,” Klawunn told The Bottom Line.

Monday, May 16, 2016

I am having some problems with the way the Grant Neal college rape case is being reported

Colorado State University-Pueblo expelled a male student athlete named Grant Neal for an alleged rape, and there is a lot of outrage about the case on the part of people concerned about the academy's hostility to the due process rights of men accused of sexual assault. The problems with the university's handling of the case have been discussed by other writers, see, e.g., here, and I won't repeat them.

The principal outrage is over the fact that the alleged victim declared the accused did not commit rape, yet a friend of the alleged victim "noticed a hickey on the woman’s neck. When she learned the woman had sex with a prominent football player, she surmised her friend had been raped and reported that to university authorities." See here.

The case is being talked about as an absurd example of a university bent on expelling a male student even when the "victim" says she wasn't raped. Megyn Kelly of Fox News reportedly said this: "Tonight, we have the story of two college students who had consensual sex, a third student who decided it was really a case of rape and a campus system of so-called justice that kicked the young man out of school despite the fact that there is no evidence of any crime." One writer asked, "What responsibility does a college have to move ahead with a third-party complaint if the supposed victim says she consented?"

I am having some difficulty with this case, and I invite anyone with information about it to write to me to explain what I'm missing: I have no doubt that there were serious due process infirmities in the way the case was prosecuted, but the blanket assumption that this was consensual sex seems unwarranted.

The woman's conclusory characterization that she wasn't raped should not necessarily be the end of the case. Nor does it means, as Megyn Kelly of Fox News apparently said, there was no evidence of rape. What the pundits seem to gloss over is the following:
According to CSU-Pueblo’s internal investigation, obtained by CBS4, the woman told an investigator, “Grant was lying on top of me and I told him that I did not want to have sexual intercourse with him that is unprotected because I am not on any birth control. Although I told Grant no, Grant ended up penetrating me … and I told him to stop. He stopped and pulled out from me immediately. Grant then said to me that if he used a condom, would I be okay with that. I told Grant yes to the condom. Grant placed on the condom and we began to have protected sex at this point which I was okay with it.”
. . . .
. . . CSU-Pueblo’s Title IX investigation found the preponderance of evidence substantiated a finding of sexual misconduct on the part of Grant Neal for participating in non-consensual sexual intercourse on Oct. 25 for the moment when he didn’t have a condom on during that sexual encounter. The university suspended Neal from campus, ruling he could not return until the woman graduates.
See here. She claims she outright told him "no," but he penetrated anyway. That doesn't sound like an accident or a young couple exploring boundaries. If a woman says she doesn't want to have sex but the man proceeds to penetrate her--if that is what really happened--it is rape. A woman's conclusory characterization that no rape occurred should not override her specific account of the facts of the alleged incident.

Someone can say he did not enter into a contract, but if the facts show the legal elements of a contract were present, there was a contract.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that the woman's account of the alleged incident should be believed (nor am I suggesting she should be disbelieved). This appears to be a classic "he said, she said" case because the accused's account shows the sex was consensual. Add to that the woman's adamant (albeit conclusory) denial that he did anything wrong and the fact that immediately after the "rape," she consented to have sex with her "rapist," and we must wonder, yet again, how the scales tipped in favor of guilt.

But all that goes to the weight, not the sufficiency, of the evidence (there's a big difference in criminal law). Any suggestion that there was no evidence to find this student guilty of rape seems to be incorrect, if the news story quoted above is correct. Again, I invite anyone who knows better to write to me.

The academy's hostility to due process is blatant, chronic, and unjust. The Department of Education is fomenting witch hunts against young men on campus, and its motivating impulse is misandry. Few have written about it more than this blog. But all that should not give us license to ignore evidence in a given case. We ill-serve the community of the wrongly accused when we lose our objectivity.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

'Men accused of sex crimes striking back at colleges'

From the Associated Press
After years of complaints that they weren’t taking sexual assault reports seriously, colleges are finally doing so, and finding themselves slammed with lawsuits from men who say they were unfairly suspended or otherwise punished.

The schools are feeling caught in the middle.

“We’re trying to walk the razor’s edge between being more attentive to the issue but still being fair to all our students,” said Dana Scaduto, general counsel at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, who has testified before Congress on the issue.

At least 75 men have sued their schools since 2013, complaining largely of reverse discrimination and unfair disciplinary proceedings. Most were never charged with a crime because the accuser didn’t go to police, or authorities decided there wasn’t enough evidence.

In March, former Yale University basketball player Jack Montague said he planned to sue after he was expelled over a sexual assault allegation, and two University of Oregon basketball players suspended over 2014 rape accusations sued for $10 million each after prosecutors declined to bring charges.

A federal judge in Rhode Island allowed a case to move forward by a Brown University student suspended for 2½ years over a sexual assault accusation.

Two former University of Findlay athletes who were expelled in 2014 are suing the university in U.S. District Court, Toledo, for allegedly conducting a “sham investigation.”

Alphonso Baity, who was a junior basketball guard, and Justin Browning, who was a sophomore football defensive back, were dismissed from the university after they were accused of sexually assaulting a freshman student in a university-owned house on campus in September 2014.

Baity and Browning each said they had consensual sex with the female student. No criminal charges were filed. Each former athlete is apparently seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

The get-tough approach by colleges is attributed largely to a 2011 letter from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The letter told schools they must promptly investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment, even if the accuser does not make a complaint to the institution.

It instructed schools to rely on the preponderance-of-evidence standard used in civil cases, instead of the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard employed in criminal trials. That means a student can be disciplined if the college finds it more likely than not that an assault occurred.

Schools that do not comply can face an investigation and a cutoff of federal money. As of mid-March, the Office for Civil Rights was conducting 219 such investigations at 173 schools.

Known as the “Dear Colleague Letter,” it has been hailed by advocates who say many schools are now moving in the right direction to address campus sexual assaults.

“For a very long time, there was no due process for victims. Victims were told to withdraw from school. Victims were told to take the semester off,” said Colby Bruno of the nonprofit Victim Rights Law Center.

Now, Bruno said, “yes, there are more decisions against perpetrators. Yes, perpetrators are being held accountable. And that is going to bother people.”

Advocates for the accused say that school disciplinary panels are unequipped to handle such serious allegations and that colleges have gone so far to accommodate alleged victims that they are trampling on the rights of the accused.

Under the federal guidance, when a school learns of allegations of sexual assault or harassment, it must take immediate steps to ensure the victim’s learning environment is free of hostility.

The accused can be removed from a class, dorm or campus even before a disciplinary hearing is held so that the accuser does not have to cross paths with her alleged attacker. Disciplinary proceedings can take months, meaning the accused can miss a year of school before the case is decided.

Advocates for both accusers and the accused say college disciplinary processes are often vague and applied inconsistently. Some schools have a single investigator. Others have a panel with faculty members. Some include students. Some allow lawyers, others don’t.

Some critics have said that universities should not be handling such cases at all and that sex crimes should instead be reported to police.

But victims’ advocates and many schools oppose that, saying it would discourage women from coming forward. Also, police investigations can take months, and prosecutions longer, meaning some cases might not be resolved before graduation.

Andrew Miltenberg, who represents the Brown student and close to 100 other male students accused of campus sexual assaults, said schools have become “hyper-aggressive” since the Dear Colleague Letter.

A common thread in his cases, Miltenberg said, is that they had some element of a consensual encounter, in which the two were dating or knew each other. Alcohol is often involved, sometimes a year or more has elapsed, and there are rarely witnesses.

“Part of the problem is they’re redefining what consent means,” he said.

“Now all of that adds up to more cases, more allegations and more hearings, and this is where the schools are in a tough spot and can and should be doing better.”

Such accusations can brand a student for life or put his education on hold for years, Miltenberg said.

“I even have Ivy League students who’ve been suspended who can’t get into a local community college during their suspension,” he said.

Miltenberg represents Paul Nungesser, who sued Columbia University, saying it violated his rights when it allowed fellow student Emma Sulkowicz to obtain class credit for her “Mattress Project,” in which she carried around the mattress on which she said he raped her. Nungesser denied the accusation and was found not responsible by the school disciplinary process.

Nungesser said in his lawsuit that he was branded a “serial rapist” and forced to return to his native Germany because he couldn’t get a job in the United States. A judge this month dismissed the lawsuit but said Nungesser may refile some claims.

Sulkowicz went to police with her allegation against Nungesser, but they did not bring charges. She has said the campus disciplinary process was badly mishandled.

In a 2014 essay in Time magazine titled “My Rapist Is Still on Campus,” she wrote of crying and hyperventilating when she learned he had asked permission to work in the darkroom during a photography class she was taking.

“As long as he’s on campus with me, he can continue to harass me,” she wrote.

Scaduto, of Dickinson College, questioned whether colleges are equipped to handle such matters.
“I don’t want to step away from the issues,” she said, “but I don’t know that we have the training, the skill, the resources to do it in-house anymore.”

In addition to the Dear Colleague Letter, federal legislation tells colleges to take action in response to a report of sexual assault on campus.

At the time the two University of Findlay athletes were expelled, the university said it was following the federal Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which requires allegations involving sexual crimes or domestic violence to be investigated by a panel of four university officials.

These investigators interview witnesses during a hearing and gather evidence. School officials must conduct their review as soon as possible, regardless of any police action, the University of Findlay said. They cannot determine whether police will bring criminal charges.

Buy this book

New book that talks about our issues: Rape Culture Hysteria: Fixing the Damage Done to Men and Women by Wendy McElroy.

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Fraternity banners raising awareness about sexual assault condemned as 'poor taste' because fraternities are rape pits

Chalk up another victory for the campus PC loons. Fraternities at Northwestern University have been attacked over banners displayed outside fraternity houses for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

What offensive message did the depraved banners contain? The banners featured the chapter’s name along with messages such as, “XYZ supports survivors,” “XYZ stands against sexual violence” and “This is everyone’s problem.”

If you are scratching your head wondering what's wrong with that, read on.

The usual suspects from the sexual grievance cartel bellyached that the banners were in poor taste due to the pervasiveness of sexual assault in fraternities.

You read that right. Poor taste. The fraternities' reward for trying to raise awareness about sexual assault was to be condemned. The campus sexual grievance cartel used the fraternities' noble impulse as just another excuse to paint fraternities with a broad brush as rape pits.

Are we shocked? Don't forget that the campus sexual grievance cartel used Rolling Stone's imaginary rape exposé in 2014 as an occasion to call for fraternities to be banned.

So how did the fraternities respond to this outrage? Did they defend their actions and decry the condemnation of their banners as political correctness run amok?

They did not. They apologized. And they announced plans to create a four-year sexual assault education program.

I can't make this up. Don't read this on an empty stomach. The Interfraternity Council issued a statement: “We recognize now how this campaign may have been emotionally triggering for survivors, and we want to make a deep, genuine apology for anyone that may have been affected. This was not our intent, but it is our fault for not being cognizant enough and not considering how it might affect others in our community.”

If that's not bad enough, the Council plans to launch another program to teach fraternity men not to rape. IFC president Will Altabef said this: “People come in here with 18 years of being socialized to think a certain way is masculine. We’ve got four years to try and correct any wrongs that might come in and hopefully to just make a more positive community.”

It's very difficult to fight a battle when the people you're trying to speak up for go ahead and surrender. The rights of college men are under assault all across America. The current administration has manifested a blatant hostility to their due process rights, and their brothers are being wrongly expelled in droves. Yet college men, so fearful of being perceived as hating women, kowtow to the tyranny of PC group-think. They don't seem to give a damn that they are in the middle of a witch hunt and that they are the witches.

The real villains here are the usual suspects, the crusaders of the campus sexual grievance cartel. The cartel spends obscene amounts of tax and tuition dollars pumping out vapid and ineffective public service announcements "raising awareness" about sexual assault that will not stop a single sexual assault. When fraternity men follow their cue, they are attacked and forced to apologize--just because they are fraternity men.

The campus sexual grievance cartel isn't interested in promoting safe and healthy sexual relationships, they are out to punish an entire gender. If that sounds harsh, try and explain idiocy like this and a thousand other incidents any other way.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

What Happens When Prosecutors Get Into Bed With Crazy?

The risk that an innocent man is indicted increases exponentially.

Victim Advocates have bemoaned criminal defense attorney's ability to gather the mental health records of complaining witnesses who have accused a man of sexual assault.  They say that the release of those records are an invasion of privacy.  They say that if criminal defendants are able to access those records, then those who are in need of mental health treatment might not seek it out of fear that it will be disclosed.

However, prosecutors have no qualms about employing forensic psychologists to explain why a complaining witness might act in such a way that seems crazy, or "counterintuitive."  Dr. Veronique Valliere has been employed by the district attorneys in Pennsylvania, as well as Special Victim Prosecutors in the Army, to do just that.  Even Dr. Valliere, a prosecution witness, admitted under oath at a Court-martial resulting in a full acquittal that studies have shown that women who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorders have a higher risk of making false allegations in a child custody situation during a divorce.  (52:17)

So, when Congress passes laws that prohibit defense attorneys from accessing mental health records, then one has to ask, "Why?"  The simple answer is that prosecutors can more easily obtain convictions if defense attorneys cannot show that the complaining witness has a borderline personality disorder or mental illness.  Over the past 10 years of defending those who have been falsely accused of sexual and physical abuse crimes and following the news regarding the plight of those unfortunate men, I have noticed an absence of any legislator standing up for the rights of the falsely accused, except most recently by a Georgia Legislator.

For instance, the most famous case of a false allegation where the accused had a mental illness was the Duke Lacrosse case.  Thankfully, at least one of the accused players had a solid alibi, and none of the players' DNA matched the DNA from the accuser's rape kit, so charges were dismissed and the DA was disbarred.

Some recent cases have been reported that should make one raise an eyebrow and wonder, "Why is the prosecution pursuing this case?"  Take for instance, the case of ex-49'r Dana Stubblefield.  He was taken down and arrested in front of his children's school, which has to be the worst place to conduct a perp walk.  Two months ago, he was questioned and cooperated fully with the police, which makes his arrest at his children's school seem overly aggressive.  The DA indicated that the complaining witness was developmentally delayed, but she has been arrested and convicted for crimes in the past and has sued people, acting as her own attorney.  Stubblefield alleges that he took a polygraph test showing no deception when stating that the acts between he and the complaining witness were consensual.  Is the DA getting into bed with crazy?

Take the curious case of Major Kit Martin.  His assumed "wife" told her oldest son that his father was decapitated in a logging accident.  Turns out that the man is alive and still is in possession of his head.  She then married another man, did not obtain a divorce, then married MAJ Martin.  She pleaded guilty to felony bigamy, but entered a pretrial diversion program where the charges will be dismissed if she stays clean.  She made no allegation that she was physically or sexually abused by Martin, initially, but rather she concocted a story with her alleged lover that MAJ Martin was a spy.  When MAJ Martin was cleared by Army counterintelligence after a 3 hour polygraph, she then stated that Martin physically and sexually abused her.  When her alleged lover, her alleged lover's wife, and their neighbor were found murdered in Pembroke, Kentucky, she told the news that MAJ Martin murdered them.  Considering her criminal record and her chaotic lifestyle filled with lies that she has lived, one might wonder why the Special Victim Prosecutor (SVP) at Ft. Campbell would feel that she was credible enough to have MAJ Martin charged with the most heinous crime short of murder.  Is the SVP getting into bed with crazy?

The results of these cases will be quite interesting, indeed.